Au pair in Canada: Contract, Salary, costs

Au Pair Canada: au pair contract, pocket money standards, working hours and more

Is an au pair contract obligatory for au pairs and host families? Want to learn about insurance for au pairs? Interested in finding out the number of working hours and the amount of pocket money au pairs get in Canada? We give all the answers to the questions and much more information about au pair programs in Canada.

Au pair Canada programs do not have a national official contract. We utilize the European au pair contract as a common template, generally approved all over the world.

As a comfortable way to make everything clear both for au pairs and host families, the au pair contract is a written agreement specifying au pairs’ responsibilities, working hours, free time, holidays, pocket money, etc.

We have created a few Sample Contracts for you to examine. Look them over and pick and choose elements you like when drawing your own contract. Obviously the content will greatly depend on you Au Pair’s hours of work, ages of your children and your expectations. Before you officially offer your Au Pair to join your family, we make sure they first read over your contract. They need to know exactly what they are “signing up for.” In your contract we. make sure to include everything from wage details to hours of work, to perks such as transit passes and a job description. Make sure you are familiar with the Employment Standards in your Province when drafting your contract. Here is a list of things we must include in your contract:

  • Wage / Frequency of Pay
  • Hours of Work / Schedule (if you are considering an averaging agreement, explain in detail)
  • Expected Days Off
  • Duties (must only be related to the care of the children)
  • Sick Days
  • Holidays
  • Perks (transit pass, cell phone etc...)
  • Driving requirements (give her an idea of what to expect regarding vehicle use)
  • Deductions to be taken (EI, CPP and Room and Board)
  • Privacy expectations

You can also create an Addendum to your contract that references house rules and expectations that may not be part of the “job” but are part of the expectations associated with the Au Pair living in your home

Materials to download

  • Official European au pair contract (a template you can alter where or how you consider appropriate)

Au pair contract termination
You won’t find any strict official notice period for terminating the au pair contract in Canada. It’s more about ensuring at least minimal convenience for au pairs and host families. If they need to terminate the contract, it’s better to write a termination notice letter to the other party at least in two weeks' time. Then both parties will have the time they need to handle all changes by replacing their au pair, or leaving the country, or dealing with other organizational concerns.

Any au pair's duty #1 is the assistance with childcare. Apart from taking care of the host family's children, secondary responsibilities may include simple household chores assistance. To avoid any misunderstandings, the au pair contract should specify all essential responsibilities of host families and au pairs.

Learn more about au pair's duties:

The minimal pocket money an au pair receives in Canada is calculated as minimum hourly wage exclusive of room and board (meals) expenses. The minimum wage isn’t the same in different territories of Canada. To find more precise numbers, you may study the minimum hourly wages rates in Canada to see the exact information for the necessary area.

Let’s see how much pocket money an au pair can receive in an exact area. For instance, if the program takes place in Ontario, average room and board (meals) expenses are reported to be 85.25 CAD. According to the current minimum wage databases, Ontario’s minimum rate is about 15.5 CAD. If an au pair’s working hours are 30 per week, they will get 379.75 CAD weekly (pocket money 30*15.5 CAD = 465 CAD, exclusive of room and board expenses 85.25 CAD).

Depending on the amount of pocket money and other specific conditions, more deductions may be applied to au pairs’ payments. These are income tax, CPP (Canadian Pension Plan), EI (Employment Insurance), etc.

Compensation for Employees

Host families must submit claims for their au pairs’ insurance to the closest provincial workers' compensation board. Premiums to WCB (Workers' Compensation Board) vary from the area and are usually less than 15 CAD per month.

Host family as an employer

Au pair program turns host families into employers. And they have to register at the Canada Revenue Agency. After that, host families can deduct income tax, CPP, and EI from their au pair's pocket money.

Childcare costs to claim for

Registered host families are eligible to claim childcare expenses for an au pair in their income tax return. See the common expenses that can be deducted: au pairs’ pocket money, EI, CPP, premiums to WCB, the AuPairWorld’s Premium Membership fee.

A host family needs to ensure that their au pair has a separate room. The family’s meals (board) are also a host family’s obligation. If we speak about the original notion of any au pair program as a discovery of a new culture, room and board can be free of charge. On the other hand, Au Pair Canada gives au pairs an opportunity to earn at least minimum wage as pocket money; that is why room and board expenses can be (and are usually) deducted from au pairs’ pocket money.

In Canada, there is no exact or restricted number of working hours an au pair should work. The recommended working hours are 25-30 a week. During these hours, host families have a right to receive evening babysitting services but not more than three times a week.

The arrangement of working hours and schedule should be discussed prior to the au pair’s stay. Important issues include the exact amount of working days and evenings as well as full days off (at least once a week; at least one Sunday per month).

As with working hours, there is no specifically regulated number of holidays within the programme. A commonly recommended holiday period is two weeks for a six-month stay. If an au pair’s stay is less than six months, it can be a starting point to make a proportion (one week for a three-month stay, etc.).

As with other free time periods, the Au Pair Canada programme doesn’t regulate the status of public holidays for au pairs. However, the preferred approach is to let au pairs celebrate Canada’s public holidays and have day offs but for emergencies, that have to be discussed beforehand and be upon reasonable notice.

Find out more about free time and holidays in the au pair programme:

As a cultural exchange programme, au pairing involves an English or French course for au pairs. Host families have to arrange their au pairs’ schedule with this in mind. They also ought to provide some assistance in finding the most convenient language course. In most cases, au pairs pay for their course by themselves.

It is obligatory for au pairs to have health insurance for the whole period of the au pair’s stay. Otherwise, they will not get the visa. The health insurance policy should cover the costs of healthcare, hospital medical treatment, and repatriation. In most cases, au pairs pay for the policy by themselves unless host families want to cover these costs.

Expenses for travelling to and from Canada are typically au pairs’ obligations. However, if their host family doesn’t want their au pairs to bear the costs for travelling (one or both directions), they can make a contribution to these expenses. We want to point out that it’s optional for host families as travel expenses are normally au pairs’ concerns.

If an au pair has an existing driving licence, they are allowed to use it for a certain period of time – a few months. To keep on driving after the term expires, an au pair has to pass a driving test and receive the Canadian driving licence. Learn more details about driving for au pairs here: Canadian government.

Another important issue about au pairs’ driving their host family’s car is liability and insurance. All the conditions concerning the aspects mentioned as well as potential accidents, damage, financial obligations, and other consequences have to be discussed beforehand.

Check out more information about the Au Pair Canada programme

Requirements for au pairs
Requirements for host families

Program Details, benefits to au pair in Canada

We try to keep our audience the most up-to-date concerning the Au Pair Canada programme. However, we cannot guarantee that all the data given is 100% accurate and relevant. If you happen to spot any omission or deficiency, we will be glad to hear from you.